New fireys promised

By Deanna Corrieri | posted on January 14, 2021

ALBANY is set to benefit from an increased number of firefighters as part of a McGowan Labor Government promise to deliver a statewide infrastructure and support package.

The $38.4 million commitment would see WA’s firefighting service strengthen at Albany, Geraldton and Kalgoorlie fire stations, with 36 new recruits trained and distributed within a nine-month period.

The infrastructure and support package investment would increase the staffing ratio from one station officer and three firefighters to one station officer and five firefighters, with a promised $4 million in new next-generation personal protective equipment.

Premier Mark McGowan said firefighters do an incredible job to keep Western Australia safe.

“Our emergency services workers and volunteers put their lives on the line for their fellow Western Australians, which is why we’ve invested heavily in building key infrastructure, training and equipment to better resource and support them and to keep our community safe,” he said.

At a press conference in Albany on Tuesday, Minister for Emer- gency Services Fran Logan MLA said he was pleased to announce the commitment to increase regional firefighters.

Mr Logan said firefighters have been campaigning for a long time for more crew members.

“The firefighters have argued they need a larger crew in place, particularly if they are going into a structure fire and they need the support of people outside and inside, should something go wrong,” he said.

Mr Logan also wanted to convey the good deeds of volunteer firefighters shouldn’t be forgotten.

“Regional Western Australia relies on volunteer firefighters and in Albany, you’ve got a great group of volunteers,” he said.

“You’ve got volunteer fire and rescue services who provide support to the career firefighters here in Albany and of course you’ve got the bush firefighters as well who do a remarkable job and go all over the south west protecting our communities.”

When asked if they intend to hire regional people, Mr Logan said it was a good point, but hasn’t raised it with the fire and emergency services commissioner.

“For every position that pops up, there are 2000 people that want to apply for the job,” he said. “I would imagine people from all over Western Australia would apply.”

The United Professional Fire- fighters Union has been running a Heroes Support Heroes campaign since October asking to have additional firefighters to help keep WA safe and they have welcomed the commitment.

United Professional Firefighter Union Secretary Tim Kucera said that the investment would help firefighters keep Western Australia safe.

“We are grateful the McGowan Government has listened to our Heroes Support Heroes campaign calling for additional firefighters, further investment in regional areas and new personal protective cloth- ing for firefighters across Western Australia,” he said.